Whether you call it soda or pop or soda pop, drinking this beverage has many disadvantages to your health. So many people drink pop on a regular basis, and some even call their pop drinking an addiction. Let’s talk first about why this is such a bad habit, then we will get into how you can kick the soda pop habit for good.
Way Too Much Sugar
The biggest problem is that regular soda contains an unhealthy amount of sugar. One can of pop can contain up to 33 grams of sugar! In case you didn’t know, it is recommended that you only take in 20 grams of sugar a day. So one can of pop will throw you over that all by itself. Now, if you are drinking two or three cans a day, you are obviously way above the sugar limit. Then you need to think about the sugar in all of the other things you are eating and drinking. All of that sugar can lead to a variety of pretty serious health problems.
Health Problems Associated With Excessive Pop Drinking
The first thing I’ll talk about is sugar leading to being overweight, because that can be a catalyst for a lot of the other problems. Excess sugar cannot be used by the body, so it is then stored as fat. You should see the connection pretty easily here between too much sugar and gaining weight. You should know, however, that even if you aren’t overweight, added sugar can still be harmful.
Heart disease is one of the biggest risks. It’s not completely clear how sugar causes this, but it is thought that excess sugar raises blood pressure. Your body has to work harder to process all of that sugar, and because of the extra weight you may be carrying around. Another common issue linked to excess sugar is diabetes, which completely changes your life, sometimes very quickly.
Soda is basically empty calories. There are no good nutrients coming from the soda can to even justify drinking it. Some people drink it for the taste, some people drink it for the carbonation, and others mostly drink it for the caffeine boost. The first thing you need to do is identify your why. Why do you drink soda? Then, you can make a plan to start phasing it out of your diet.
Identify Your Reason For Drinking Soda
If you drink soda for the caffeine, it’s time to start exploring some other healthier options. You could drink hot coffee, iced coffee, hot tea, or cold unsweetened tea. All of these beverages will give you that energy boost you are looking for, without the extra sugar (as long as you don’t add a bunch of sugar to them).
If you drink soda for the carbonation, turn to naturally flavored sparkling water or seltzer. You will still get the fizzy bubbles, again without the added sugar.
If you drink soda for the taste, then you will probably have the toughest time breaking the habit. There’s really nothing that will mirror the taste of pop without it being pop. Diet soda is not the answer either. There you are just going to find artificial sweeteners, which aren’t any better than real sugar. Plus you’re still not getting any real nutritional value. If taste is your issue, you are going to have to experiment with different drinks, like flavored waters, seltzers, and unsweetened iced teas.
Make a Plan to Quit
Like any habit, you are not going to stop drinking pop overnight. I recommend a slow transition process so that the results are long-lasting. There is no one correct time frame, either. Some people will be able to kick the habit in a month, others may take a year. As soon as you start phasing it out, your health is going to automatically improve.
Set a weaning process for yourself that matches your pop-drinking level. If you are a two-to three can a day person, you are going to need longer than someone who drinks one can a day or less. Your best bet is to reduce your pop intake by 25% for at least 2-3 weeks. If you need longer, then go longer. Once you are at a point where you are comfortable with the amount of pop you are drinking, it’s time to decrease again. In the meantime, replace the pop with something else, so you are still drinking something.
Next, reduce your pop intake by another 25%, so that you will be drinking half the amount of pop you used to. Do this for another 2-3 weeks, or more if needed. Keep reducing by 25% until you have completely eliminated pop from your diet.
I know I am making this sound easy, but it’s not. Sugar addiction is a real thing, and takes time to break. But it is so worth it for your health to try. Ask for support from your loved ones, or seek out professional help if you need to. It is not impossible, and you will feel so good physically and mentally once you do it.